Move over Thailand. Iceland has quickly become one of the more in vogue travel destinations of the past few years and we completely get it. Where to start? Fiery volcanoes, haunting lava fields, plunging waterfalls, ghostly ice caves, glaciers, and more. The list goes on. A lot of Iceland’s most iconic destinations are in the southern part of the island, but not all of them. So when everyone else is heading south on Iceland’s Ring Road, why not buck the trend and head north? Let’s explore some of the attractions in North Iceland such as Akureyri, the Diamond Circle, Dettifoss waterfall, and more.
Travel to North Iceland – Akureyri
Nestled at the foot of the Eyjafjord Glacier, Iceland’s Second City is nothing to be scoffed at. Clocking in at just 18,000 inhabitants, this is Iceland’s second largest city and is considered the capital of the North. It makes a nice little break from the hustle and bustle of Reykjavik and gives you a feel of what small town living in Iceland is really like. The tiny metropolis has a wide variety of bars, restaurants, architectural sights, and much more. If you happen to find yourself here in August, be sure to pop over to the nearby town of Dalvík for their annual fish festival. Who doesn’t love getting free food in the summer?
Travel to the Diamond Circle – Dettifoss
Europe’s most powerful waterfall bears the affectionate nickname “the Beast”. This is in stark contrast to its neighbor Goðafoss waterfall, which is known as “the Beauty”. The word “foss” means “fall” in Icelandic, as in waterfall, and Dettifoss is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland and Europe. Fans of Ridley Scott’s film Prometheus will no doubt recognize the formidable cascade from the movie’s epic opening scene. Dettifoss is part of the popular Diamond Circle route, and you can find all kind of tours and excursions at VisitAskja.com
Travel to North Iceland – Diamond Circle
As we mentioned previously, one of the main stops on your trip to North Iceland is Dettifoss waterfall. But what about the other stops on the Diamond Circle route? Húsavík makes a great base from which to explore the Diamond Circle. It’s a cute little town with plenty of exciting things to do, but more on that later. Other points of interest in the Diamond Circle include the horseshoe-shaped Ásbyrgi Canyon, Lake Mývatn along with the surreal Krafla volcanic fields, Goðafoss waterfall (the waterfall of the gods), the elegant Vesturdalur valley, the Hverir geothermal area and last but not least, the eerie and haunting Dimmuborgir lava field. Be sure to take your time exploring this 260 km (161 mi) round trip itinerary.
Travel to North Iceland – Outdoor Activities
We can’t write about North Iceland without mentioning all of the amazing outdoor activities that are possible. If you’re visiting in the summer, be sure to check out a whale watching excursion. Húsavík is known as the whale watching capital of Iceland, but you can also take tours from Akureyri and other towns on Iceland’s north coast. Another thing Iceland is famous for is the Aurora Borealis. You can view this natural phenomenon from mid-September to Mid April, and the tiny island of Grímsey is a great point for doing this. Lastly, skiers and snowboarders will want to flock to Dalvík, a mecca for powder enthusiasts. You can reach it by car from Akureyri in about 40 minutes. Here, you’ll find some of Europe’s best slopes and state-of-the-art ski facilities.
Exploring the Diamond Circle and North Iceland
We hope you’ll agree, the north of Iceland definitely warrants your time and attention. Let us know about your travels!